Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Hump Day Typing

I'm back on my freewrite game again.  It's quite possibly the best way I can think of to get through stressful, busy, or difficult times positively.  So, there's really no actual or direct point to this. It's all stream of consciousness.  Perhaps someday I'll get good enough or sharp enough at this writing thing and finish a novel.  Then we can hang out and you can say stuff like, "Hey, man, I was reading your stuff when you were a blogger and 10,000 Lakes is pretty cool too.

Anyhoo, enough about that.  It's been a weird month.  This is the first full month back at the job, and my first full month of getting things done.  Getting back on board is a good feeling, and getting back into the monthly ups and downs, while remembering the important stuff is really good. What I love about this job is that there isn't really a way to be complacent about it.  It's complex enough that even a veteran can still learn something new.  In my role now, I'm sharing that with newer teammates.  At the same time, I'm learning things from them as well.  It's the type of business that requires that sort of teamwork and information to survive.  In other words, when it comes to my career, I feel alive again.

It can be very stressful sometimes because things often go wrong, due to things out of any of our control. But, it gives me that jump, that just-enough-chaos thing.  It's enough to keep me on my toes, and enough to really get some satisfaction by navigating things in the right direction. 

I've really been getting into Fair To Midland lately.  I've been a fan of theirs for years, but only lately have I gotten back into their songs.  I know some folks who know a few of the members personally, and they've shared stories about spending time with the band, as well as some of their musical and artistic ideas.  I can generally describe a band's music based on three other bands, but I often find this difficult with Fair to Midland.  In any case, I've been jamming their music at work, particularly The Carbon Copy Silver Lining and Fables From a Mayfly, their first and third albums, respectively.  The closest I can come to the three-band description is Tool, Rush, and Dream Theater. But that doesn't do them justice in description.  Their keyboardist Matt Langley is the Stephen Hawking of keyboard.

They are on hiatus now, maybe broken up, maybe just living out of the spotlight, who knows.

Anyhow, here is one of their songs, Tall Tales Taste Like Sour Grapes.

I'm also into mashup music.  Remixes and mashups have always been something I gravitate towards musically.  The idea that two completely different ideas or works of art can combine into something else has always intrigued me.  I enjoy electronic music and hip hop because both genres use this technique.  Plus, both are great types of music to work to. My introduction to the mashup was Dread Zeppelin. I bought a couple of their albums back in the early 90's, because I couldn't get enough of the idea of Led Zeppelin done reggae style with an Elvis impersonator singing.

25 years later, we have Beatallica, another one of my favorite bands of all time.  And, more recently we have Elvana. 


For the last several years, I've liked where this mashup thing has been going.  I'm going to a show here in a few weeks to see a band called Mac Sabbath, which is, pretty much, a mix of McDonald's and Black Sabbath.  It's at Trees.  And everyone who knows I'm going is telling me to stay out of the mosh pit!  And I promised I would!  If you know me, you know that story. My boss even told it to fellow coworkers today. :)


Friday, January 22, 2016

Didn't Make It To Star Wars Tonight, So I'm Writing And Listening To Megadeth's New Album

And shit, it's badass. Great album called Dystopia.  I'm jammin' and writing.  I've always been a big fan of mixing music and writing.  Or music and college homework.  Or music and work. Or music and driving.

OK. Music and anything.  Well, almost anything.  I couldn't imagining blasting some Ludacris while doing my taxes.  Luda's there for me when I'm working and getting into confident mode, though. :)

Music is a great escape, when you have time to really listen deeply to it.  Or, when you are trying to make it.  To me, music can also be a great way to pass the time.  It's great while doing things around the house, to take away from the mundane things that need to be done.  Music has helped me through so many different areas in my life.

My entire family history has been peppered with creative folks, and people interested in music in one way or another, for different reasons.  It's in my DNA.  I'm pretty lucky in that way, actually.  My dad is the #1 influence on me musically.  When he isn't working, he enjoys listening to and performing bluegrass music with some incredibly talented people.  He's the bassist in two different bands.  He's got more bluegrass on his computer and other hard drives than any iPhone or iPad can contain. 

My mom has a piano that she's had since probably before I was born, and that I used to tinker around on when I was a kid. And now, she lets Grace play it, and she just learned Hot Cross Buns on that exact same piano. 

I look at old family photos of my ancestors, and there's a musical instrument in the family photo. 

So, all these generations before me, the love of music has been passed down.

Music is definitely a great escape for me, but it's also a great motivator.  Around Y2K, I really started to appreciate electronic music.  I looked up on the computer music to work to, and overwhelmingly electronic music was praised as the way to go.  At the time, obviously, techno was in its pop prime. I was already a huge fan of Fatboy Slim, and all the Big Beat stuff going on at the time.  And it really did help me focus on work.  Any kind of work. Later on in my college classes, I'd listen to electronic music while doing homework, or at work, when I was busy. And I still do.  Fast tempos and technical sounds are absolutely great for focus, concentration, and goal-setting.

Heavy metal's pretty good at that, too.

I like my music fast and heavy, which is great when it comes to accomplishing things.  But when it comes to relaxing, I'm not sure what type of music works for that.  I'm not a laid back, mellow guy, though I do like to come across that way in case things get stressful and I need to lead.

But anyway...

I'll tell you more about things here pretty soon, on the next entry. 

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Steppin' In The Pool ('Bout Time)

I'm beginning to get the creative itch back again, finally.  The last album I released was a compilation of older, high sound quality stuff I never really compiled, and that was on 4/30/14.  It's part of a new music project I call Yo Mama Dental Floss System.  The album released that day was called "Surround Sound," based on this picture:

Listen to it here, as if I haven't posted it and you've never heard it before: Yo Mama Dental Floss System - Surround Sound

On that note - I've added the lyrics of all 58 released 10,000 Lakes songs to If you know 10,000 Lakes, it's mostly nonsense, so it's an exercise in smartassery.  But if you'd like to "interpret" any of the songs, you can, here.

 Anyway, it's coming back.  I've been doing goofy memes for a while, but the musical and lyrical side... they're starting to come back.  Grace is into making songs, or at least song ideas.  Just like I did way back when.  After going back to my old/new job, I can actually listen to whatever music I want again.  So many months of brainless pop and old country was just not working out.

So it's time to get the feet wet and step in the music pool once again.  I need to spend some time with the guitar, the keyboards, and whatever else I can make noise with.  And Grace wants to sing along on a few things.  I think that would be pretty cool.

So, I'm announcing that recording will soon begin on the new Dr. Tissue album, "The Bionic Reindeer."  All I'm letting out for now is this:  a very well-known hair product company has given me permission to use their shampoo and conditioner descriptions and ingredients as song lyrics, and I'm going to be recording my dishwasher as background sound for one of the songs.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Sunshine Jump! (Or At Least Something Different)

I thought I would write tonight. In a selfish way, it's a way for me to get past some things that have bothered me over the last several months. But in a non-selfish way, I can express my life.  Which is what a blog is supposed to do, right? :D

A month into my new/old job - where I am now is becoming a larger contrast to my position and role before.  It's like night and day.  There was a great deal of attrition during the time I left.  So the team I am working with now has some experience, but for the first time in my career as a Closer, I feel like I have some sway, aka something to offer. 

I've always been reserved, but coming back has been an environment where I can help newcomers get more familiar and comfortable with a new position.  It's brought me out of my cave, so to speak. I'm having to show people things I once learned and even earlier, had to just run with to survive in the job. 

What it has created is a stronger environment.  I'm usually the chill guy that just rolls with the nosebleed seats and handles whatever comes along my way. 

But that doesn't cut it anymore.  I work with people who are, in many ways, overwhelmed with a new job function. Everyone on my team is trying to overcome it, and trying to get past the confusing mess that comes with mortgage closing. 

There's an enormous talent in this group - and it's up to me as the veteran to help as much as possible, in order to bring all the good individual talents into the group itself.  But, I'm still trying to remember all the ins and outs of what we're supposed to do to make sure everything is perfect.

I've had a few chances to share some productive and helpful ideas with the new team.  Others have too.  But it takes time for a great team to nail everything down.  In that sense, I'm with the new people.  But in another way, there are questions everyone has, that I can solve individually, and form a way to get past them with the team.

On a completely different note, I got March 4th off.  Mac Sabbath is coming to Trees in Dallas on March 3rd, and I plan on going to that show!  If you haven't heard of them, they're a McDonald's themed Black Sabbath tribute band. Don't wanna miss that.

I'm also trying to quit smoking.  I had five cigarettes today. But also a patch and Reese's flavored vape stuff.  I've got to quit smoking.  I have music stuff to do, and the vocals have to be as wild and woolly as the lyrics.  Goals.

I also have to lay off on the beer.  I mean, I love beer, and I make beer.  But it makes me bloaty. I'm trying to turn that into an artistic/part time thing.  At some point, I've got to work out, at least a little bit, to stay healthy. And maybe even make some new songs sometime soon.

And those new songs, well... that's another collection of musings to be passed along.  You gotta wait on those goodies.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

New Year, Old Me

Apparently I have plenty of things to talk about.  So here goes.

First of all, I'd like to point out that I have no New Year's resolutions.  I've decided that they're basically scheduled pipe dreams with an almost 0% chance of success.  As Mitch Hedberg once said, "I'm sick of following my dreams. I'm just going to ask them where they're goin', and hook up with them later." I'm completely fine with that philosophy right now.  And why wouldn't I be?  Life is hard no matter what, and recently I've been blessed with some good news that got me out of the hole.  There are other things in my life that have been horrible and remain so, but we all experience that.  So I'm not going to promise myself something I may not be able to follow through with, just for logic's sake. Just because you get a new calendar doesn't mean you have to reinvent yourself based on it.  I can do that on my own schedule; it doesn't have to begin on January 1. But it could, no judgment on those who do that.

The job is going well.  It took Divine and nearly Congressional intervention to make that happen.  I've been at my new, old job for just under a month now.  It started out rough with getting access to everything, but it turned out. I expected some roadblocks in getting up and running.  No complaints, though.  Now I'm up and running.  There is a really large contrast between the time I first came to closing and the time a few weeks ago when I came back. 

The first time I was new at it and completely freaked out for a couple of months, this time around I'm the veteran closer on a newly formed team.  Some of the things my teammates are going through now, I went through over my first few years of closing.  I am sort of cast as the mentor type now. I had a mentor in my early days as well, and given the dynamics now, I feel like I'm in that role.  And it doesn't hurt my feelings at all!

In other news, Mom is cancer-free! She has been for a little while now, but she has had to undergo some chemo treatments since then.  Now she's doing follow up medicine, and soon this whole thing will be in the past.  If you've read my previous posts, you have walked with me through all this and know the territory.  She did get sick halfway through the chemo, and had to spend some time in the hospital.  She lost some weight and had some really difficult days, but the doctors there got things figured out and were able to help.

A 3-week stay was the biggest one.  I am so glad I didn't have a job at that particular time.  It was a dry and rough time for everyone, but looking back on it, I am glad to have been able to drive up to the hospital right up the street to visit and spend time, at any time.

Things are starting to become "normal" again right now. That is, I've been able to adjust to a particular and healthy routine.  Being unemployed was very difficult and unnerving. There was no vacation type of feeling in it at all.  It was like watching the clock tick, hopelessly, while nothing was being maintained, or much less solved.  For the most part, it was a sort of "Countdown to Extinction" sort of feeling.  I knew at some point things would work out, but I was blind to it and had a great deal of challenges along the way. That's a blog entry in itself, but I have to describe a little portion of it here.  Not knowing the next move can sometimes be a catastrpohic showdown.

Speaking from now, I'm thankful for the resolution to all these issues. At the same time, I'm thankful for going through what I did with the job thing, having some time to go to the hospital for visits, and surviving a process not everyone has the patience for.  Every day I go to work now, I'm not just going for a paycheck, or to complete what I need to just to get things done, there's purpose. I have to do what I need to do, but it's for something, for someone I'll never meet in person. A new home, or a better house payment. 

That's worth it for me.  Making the magic happen for someone is special, if it takes a load off of someone, I'm all for it. That idea has done wonders for me, and if I'm part of doing that for someone else, I'm a happy camper.


I had to bury my dog yesterday and it sucked. He seemed like he was recovering but it was not the case. I was wrong.  We all were. Yesterd...